Ossining Group Helps Latinos Apply For Financial Aid

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Ossining non-profit Latino U is hosting a special information session to help Spanish-speaking residents apply for financial aid Saturday at the Ossining Public Library. Photo Credit: Courtesy Latino U College Access

OSSINING, N.Y. – A new Ossining group wants Latino students to know that higher education is possible and it can be affordable.

Latino U College Access is hosting a special informational meeting designed to teach Spanish-speaking residents in Ossining how to apply for financial aid and bridge the language gap that prevents many students from seeking higher education. The Spanish-only workshop is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ossining Public Library’s Budarz Theater. Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, who launched the non-profit Latino U in November, said the presentation is only the first step of many.

“The process of applying for financial aid, especially for a student whose parents speak limited English, is very challenging,” Buontempo said. “Many people don’t realize how complicated the financial process is and how important that can be for students. We want to clarify that process and work with parents every step of the way to help them apply and qualify for financial aid.”

Saturday's community information session is being offered in collaboration with the Ossining Public Library, Ossining High School and Proyecto Alcance.  Felix Flores of Proyecto Alcance said the presentation was “a crucial step” in improving the number of Latino students who go to college.

“We work with a lot of immigrant parents and help them integrate into the school system and applying for financial aid is one thing that is difficult when you’re not familiar with the systems in place in this country,” Flores said. “We don’t want parents to think that because they don’t speak English that their child will be left out. Families can become very frustrated when they don’t know the systems and we want to do what we can to make that entire process possible and simple.”

Flores spent more than six years as an elementary school principal with Brookside and Claremont elementary schools and 13 years in the Ossining School District. He said he saw hundreds of families come through every year that had difficulties learning the basics of American schooling.

“Getting to college and applying for the various assistance is a very important issue because it’s another aspect of succeeding in education that they don’t know about,” he said. “We need to let them know that the opportunity is there and it’s front of you so grab it and we’ll be here to help you along the way.”

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Comments (4)

ArnoldD:

Hi.Thanks for a nice blog to read on.Did you know that H&R Block admitted to making an error in the filing of 600,000 returns seeking education tax credits. That delay could affect the federal financial aid of some of those taxpayers as well. A short term loan can help you pay for the things you need while waiting on a return.

latinou:

Education is the key to growth, upward mobility and continued participation in the American society. As a Non Profit organization, Latino U seeks to provide resources to first-generation Latino students who seek to go to college to improve their lives and make a better life for themselves, their families and their children. This is something immigrants have aspired to since the founding of America. The need for a college degree is an economic imperative for employment in this generation, yet the complexity of the college application and financial aid process is more challenging than ever! We are proud to be able to offer assistance and resources to those who may NEVER have a chance if it were not for our services.

latinou:

thank you Steve. We had a fantastic turn out yesterday at our Financial Aid and FAFSA information session. Close to 100 attendees! The interest and desire are there, we only need to provide assistance and support with the process.
Follow us on Facebook at Latino U College Access.

Steve Di Renno:

I applaud the Latino U, OHS and the Public Library for holding this event. It is a great way to help our Latino neighbor's children get on there way to a better future!

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